Representatives of ASEAN member states and Russia pose for a group photo at the 51st ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting and related meetings in Singapore (Photo: AFP/VNA)

Singapore (VNA) – Representatives from ASEAN partner countries have stated their commitments to support the bloc’s central role in the regional structure at the 51st ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (AMM 51) and related meetings in Singapore, which runs between July 30 and August 4.

At an US – ASEAN ministerial meeting on August 3, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said his country will maintain its role in a commitment to peace and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific with ASEAN at its centre.

The message came along with a US funding of 113 million USD in support of technology, energy and infrastructure in the Asia-Pacific, which was announced just a few days before the opening of the AMM 51.

Meanwhile, India stated ASEAN is among priorities of its diplomacy for external relations, affirming its commitment to strengthening collaboration with the bloc, as well as to helping the grouping build its community and boost regional connectivity.

India and ASEAN plan to foster cooperation across three pillars of the ASEAN Community, focusing on marine collaboration and trade-investment facilitation in order to lift bilateral trade to 200 billion USD in 2025.

Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs Julie Bishop said ASEAN holds a leading role in Southeast Asia and a strong connection in the Indo-Pacific region, adding that the power of the bloc’s solidarity will help maintain peace and security and create other growth pushes.

Australia, as a dialogue partner of ASEAN, fully supports the bloc’s development goals in the long term, she affirmed, adding that the Australian Government backs ASEAN in implementing the integration connectivity initiatives, maintaining its central role as well as peace and stability in the region.

For her part, Foreign Minister of the Republic of Korea (RoK) Kang Kyung-wha stressed that President Moon Jae-in’s ‘New Southern Policy’ places ASEAN at the centre of cooperation priorities, with a committee set up to further develop the initiative.

Earlier, at the ministerial meetings between ASEAN and Japan, China, Russia, and New Zealand on August 2, the partner countries spoke highly of ASEAN’s role in the region and continued to affirm their support to the bloc’s central role in the regional structure that is open, transparent, inclusive, and rule-based. The structure will be based on ASEAN-led mechanisms like the ASEAN plus three, East Asia Summit, ASEAN Regional Forum, and ASEAN Defence Ministers' Meeting-Plus.

Regarding the East Sea issue, the partner countries lauded an agreement between ASEAN and China on a single draft document on the negotiations on the Code of Conduct in the East Sea (COC).-VNA